BP CEO Hayward’s Next Assignment: Siberia
BP’s embattled CEO, Tony Hayward, is about to be reassigned to TNK-BP, a joint venture in Russia.
After much speculation and many reports in the press that Hayward’s days were numbered, the company finally announced on Tuesday that he will step down from his position as chief executive officer effective Oct. 1.
“The BP board is deeply saddened to lose a CEO whose success over some three years in driving the performance of the company was so widely and deservedly admired,” said BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.
BP also announced a record $17 billion quarterly loss as a result of costs related to the spill.
“The Gulf of Mexico explosion was a terrible tragedy for which — as the man in charge of BP when it happened — I will always feel a deep responsibility, regardless of where blame is ultimately found to lie,” Mr. Hayward said in a statement.
In an ironic twist, Bob Dudley, who is set to replace Hayward as BP’s CEO, was formerly the chief executive at TNK-BP before a bitter dispute resulted in him being ousted from Russia by the Kremlin.
BP maintains a share in the Kovytka field located in Eastern Siberia, which is said to be one of the largest undeveloped natural gas fields in the world.
Hayward’s new position will be as a non-executive director on the board of TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil company. BP owns a 50% stake in TNK-BP.
BP is scrambling to rebuild it’s devastated image in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion which killed 11 rig workers and caused oil to leak into the Gulf of Mexico.
Comments made by Hayward in the early days of the spill response –such as “I would like my life back” and that the spill was “relatively tiny” compared to the size of the Gulf of Mexico– erupted into a public relations nightmare for the company which they have yet to recover from.
Dudley, an American, is said to be a softspoken character, and BP hopes that he can broadcast a positive image to both the government and the public as it launches a major restructuring process aimed at getting what was once Britain’s largest company back on its feet.
Dudley was in London on Monday to attend the board meeting discussing the company’s reshuffling and Hayward’s severance package. Hayward will receive a $1.6 million payoff – a year’s salary.
“The tragedy of the Macondo well explosion and subsequent environmental damage has been a watershed incident,” Svanberg said in a statement. BP will be a “different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership,” he said.